NASA announced new SunRISE mission to study giant solar particle storms

SunRISE contains six CubeSats which will work together as a large radio telescope.


US space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has announced that it has selected a new mission to study giant solar particle storms.

The Sun Radio Interferometer Space Experiment (SunRISE) will look into how Sun generates and releases the giant weather storms, known as the solar particle storms, into space.

The mission will help in greater understanding of the solar system. The findings would safeguard astronauts from solar storms while they travel to Mars or the Moon, NASA said in a press release.

 NASA announced new SunRISE mission to study giant solar particle storms

The SunRISE mission is to understand how such storms affect interplanetary space can help protect spacecraft and astronauts. Image: NASA

SunRISE contains six CubeSats which will work together as a large radio telescope. Each of the CubeSats would run on solar power and would be of the size of a toaster oven.

Together, these will observe radio images of low-frequency emission from solar activity and create 3D maps to locate the origin place of a solar particle storm on the Sun. The entire procedure of the storm evolution as it moves outward into the space will be studied too.

NASA has awarded $62.6 million for building, designing and launching the mission. It will be headed by Justin Kasper of the University of Michigan and managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The launch date of the mission has been set for July 1, 2023.

“The more we know about how the Sun erupts with space weather events, the more we can mitigate their effects on spacecraft and astronauts,” said Nicky Fox, director of NASA’s Heliophysics Division.

NASA had in August 2017 shortlisted SunRISE, along with another Mission of Opportunity proposal, for an 11-month mission concept study. Following the study in 2019, the space agency approved an additional formulation study for another year.

Missions of Opportunity are part of NASA’s oldest continuous program called the Explorers Program. These aim at providing low-cost, efficient and frequent access to space for various missions.


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